Lyoto Machida is the real life embodiment of “The Karate Kid.”
In what ultimately served as Vitor Belfort’s final fight, Machida sent him out as a victim of another spectacular front kick knockout that earned “The Dragon” a second-round knockout in the opening bout of the UFC 224 main card.
It was a methodical pace early with Machida looking to control the distance from the outside, while Belfort was trying to find an opening for one of his patented flurries with punches.
Machida stayed dedicated to his kicking game throughout the opening round, blasting away at Belfort’s arms as he continuously went head hunting for the knockout.
Machida is notorious for slowing the pace in his fights and then luring his opponents into a false sense of security with a lower output and that’s exactly what unfolded once the second round got underway.
With Machida still keeping Belfort at distance, the former light heavyweight champion measured his opponent before unleashing a front kick that slammed his foot into the jaw of the future UFC Hall of Famer.
Immediately after the impact was felt, Belfort crumbled to the mat as Machida stood over top of him before bowing to his fallen opponent.
THE DRAGON ROARS AGAIN! ? @LyotoMachidaFW #UFC224 pic.twitter.com/ILXkb9DYvo
— UFC (@ufc) May 13, 2018
The end came at exactly 1:00 into the second round.
It was truly shades of Machida’s previous win against Randy Couture that sent him into retirement back in 2011 and now he’s finished the career of another legend with that same front kick knockout.
“I have a lot of respect for Vitor Belfort. He’s done a lot for this sport and everyone should have respect for him,” Machida said following the win.
As for what comes next, Machida is still holding out hope for a showdown with former middleweight champion Michael Bisping despite the fact that he’s stated that for all intents and purposes that he’s retired from the sport.
“Michael Bisping, I’m still waiting for you man,” Machida stated. “If you want to retire, you’ve got to fight me first.”
As for Belfort, his legendary career will come to an end after suffering the knockout loss to Machida on Saturday night. While it certainly wasn’t the way he wanted to go out, Belfort will undoubtedly coast into the UFC Hall of Fame in the very near future after a career that first started in the Octagon all the way back at UFC 12 in 1997.
“It’s been a long ride,” Belfort said before leaving his gloves in the middle of the cage. “It’s about the beginning, middle and end and I think I’ve come to the end. I’m leaving my glove here.”